Once close to extinction, three sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) — chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis — are making an alarming comeback, and there are a host of reasons for the rise in the easily-preventable infections.
As Yahoo Lifestyle reports, Dr. Gail Bolan of the division of STD Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) stated that until recently all three diseases had been well-managed by the public health community.
“Not that long ago, gonorrhea rates were at historic lows, syphilis was close to elimination, and we were able to point to advances in STD prevention, such as better chlamydia diagnostic tests and more screening, contributing to increases in detection and treatment of chlamydial infections,” Dr. Bolan said.
However, recently, that progress has “unraveled.”
Why Are STD Rates Climbing?
There are actually a variety of reasons.
Dr. Michael Cackovic, an ob-gyn at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center believes that the recent emergence has largely to do with budget cuts that have affected public health clinics, where, among other things, individuals can get free or low-cost STD testing and treatment, as well as condoms to prevent the spread of STDs.
“Over 50 percent of these local programs have experienced budget cuts resulting in clinic closures, reduced screenings, and inability to pursue patient follow-up,” he said.
Other factors include increasing poverty; increasing drug use; and unstable housing. Further, fewer people are using condoms, whether because they don’t have access to them, can’t afford them, weren’t properly taught about their efficacy and use in sex education class, or because they simply don’t think that getting an STD is not going to strike them.
“Many individuals believe that STDs won’t happen to them, that they can identify potential at-risk partners, and if contracted, that they can be cured with a quick dose of antibiotics,” says Dr. Cackovic.
What You Need To Know About These Three Infections
Chlamydia is the most commonly-reported STD in the U.S., and often goes undiagnosed and untreated because it can produce no symptoms. In females, untreated chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease and can even affect fertility, according to Web MD.
Gonorrhea, on the other hand, produces unpleasant and visible symptoms, including but not limited to white, yellow or green discharge from the penis, or increased vaginal discharge.
Syphilis symptoms include a sore or sores at the site of infection, a skin rash, swollen lymph nodes, and fever.
All three diseases are easily treatable with antibiotics, especially if caught quickly.
Public health officials say the best way to stem the rise of these infections — and indeed all STDs, in general — is to wear condoms and to get tested frequently.